Any telephone operators out there?

From the 60’s?

Huge fans surrounding the unending line of women, wearing skirts or dresses.

No pants allowed.

Keep your eyes on the “board”.

Grab that light before it was lit for more than 3 seconds, by inserting your back cord.

Yeah, we had a back and a front cord.

And the two connected the calling with the called.

“Long distance, may I help you?”

“I want to place a person to person call to Washington DC, for President Kennedy, collect.”

“Do you have the area code and number?”

“That’s your job. Find it.”


“Operator?  This is an emergency.  I need to break in on a line that has been busy for 30 minutes.”

“A 30 cent charge will apply.”:

“Yeah, ok.”

“And your name, sir?”

“Bond. James Bond.”

“One moment please.”

After dialing the busy number and “breaking’ into the line:

“Excuse me, this is the operator.  I have an emergency call for this line from Bond, James Bond. Will you give up the line, please?”

“#%#%^%#^ you and James Bond. And quit breaking into my conversation.”

Or the little kid who loved to call the operator.

“Operator, may I help you?”

“Hey Bitch.  I hate you.”

I used to laugh at the fake person to person calls.

“I want to place a person to person call to my mother, Mrs. Martha Stewart, from Johnny Stewart.”


“I have a person to person  collect call to Mrs. Martha Stewart.  Is she there, please?”

“Is that you Johnny?”

“Yeah, Ma, I arrived here ok.  I will call you later.”

“Excuse me, this is a collect call……Hello ?  Hello?”

When you had to take a nature break, put on your light.

The Supervisor would advise when you could go.

If you took too long, you were hauled off the job to explain.

And if your calls took more than 45 seconds, well, you just didn’t meet standards.

Every call was measured and ticketed on a card.

If you screwed up and forgot to enter the calling/called number, credit card, or any other pertinent information, you got a zing.

Too many zings and you were history.

No talking to your “neighbor.”

No looking around the room.

If you were sick, you had to call in and explain why.

And be prepared for a home visit.

My least favorite calls were from coin phones.

We collected up front for the first 3 minutes.

And we notified you when your 3 minutes were up.

You have no idea how many people talked long beyond that, and left without paying for the overtime.

And guess who had to explain?

Our salary:  $55 a week.

At 16 years old, I was on top of the world.

I had more clothes, dresses and skirts, that is, than any other kid at school.

Oh those were the days, my friend.

I wonder if anyone of us would put up with all that, today, in 2016?

In fact, I enjoyed the job.

It was my first taste of serving the public, in customer service.

And I have been doing it ever since.

And still getting a hoot out of it.






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